The Past in the Present : Therapy Enactments and the Return of Trauma book cover
1st Edition

The Past in the Present
Therapy Enactments and the Return of Trauma

ISBN 9780415433709
Published September 12, 2008 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

The Past in the Present brings together, for the first time, contemporary ideas from both the psychoanalytic and humanistic therapy traditions, looking at how trauma and enactments affect therapeutic practice.

Enactments are often experienced as a crisis in therapy and are understood as symbolic interactions between the client and therapist, where personal issues of both parties become unconsciously entwined. This is arguably especially true if the client has undergone some form of trauma. This trauma becomes enacted in the therapy and becomes a turning point that significantly influences the course of therapy, sometimes with creative or even destructive effect.

Using a wealth of clinical material throughout, the contributors show how therapists from different therapeutic orientations are thinking about and working with enactments in therapy, how trauma enactment can affect the therapeutic relationship and how both therapist and client can use it to positive effect.

The Past in the Present will be invaluable to practitioners and students of analytic and humanistic psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, analytic psychology and counselling.


Table of Contents

Mann, Cunningham, Introduction. Mann, Enactments and Trauma: The Therapist’s Vulnerability as the Theatre for the Patient's Trauma. Cunningham, Mutual Enactments Within the Therapeutic Relationship. Adams, The Abandonment: Enactments from the Patient’s Sadism and the Therapist’s Collusion. Harding, The Ghost at the Feast: Enactments of Cumulative Trauma in the Therapeutic Relationship. Cornell, Loves and Losses: Enactments in the Disavowal of Intimate Desires. Case, Action, Enactment and Moments of Meeting in Therapy with Children. Kenward, Bad Faith in Practice: Enactments in Existential Psychotherapy. Marsden, Knight-Evans, Tangled Webs: Enactments on an Inpatient Ward for Eating Disorders. Embleton Tudor, Tudor, Past Present: Person-Centred Therapy with Trauma and Enactment. Webster, The Therapist as a 'Bad Object': The Use of Countertransference Enactment to Facilitate Psychoanalytic Therapy. McDermott, Working with Refugees: An Enactment and Guilt. Wieland, Chronic and Acute Enactment: The Passive Therapist and the Perverse Transference.

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David Mann is a consultant psychotherapist for an NHS Trust in Tunbridge Wells and also works in private practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and supervisor. His previous books include: Psychotherapy: An Erotic Relationship (1997), Erotic Transference and Countertransference (1999), and Love & Hate: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (2002).

Valerie Cunningham works in private practice as a qualified art psychotherapist and transactional analysis psychotherapist and supervisor in Tunbridge Wells. She has 12 years' experience as a core tutor on both humanistic counselling and psychotherapy courses and is registered with the HPC, UKCP and the BACP.  


"Mann and Cunningham have brought together a fine collection of clinicians, from diverse backgrounds and both sides of the Atlantic, providing an unprecedented depth and breadth of exploration of enactment. This will be of great importance and interest to seasoned practitioners as well as those in training." – Phil Mollon, Psychoanalyst, British Psychoanalytic Society; Psychotherapist, Tavistock Society, and Clinical Psychologist, UK

"Its strength lies in the richness and variety of the clinical case studies and the preparedness of the authors to disclose their own current and historical material to throw light on what has happened in the therapy. Although some of the theoretical concepts may be unfamiliar to practitioners trained outside the psychoanalytic tradition, it will appeal to readers who have enjoyed books like Patrick Casement’s On Learning from the Patient. It should appeal to readers at all levels of training." - Julia Greer, Therapy Today, February, 2009

"What a gift of a book. Honest, effectively theorised self-revelation, without shame or defence, by experienced practitioners; accessible chunks of narrative and chewy, interesting, joined-up theory. A good book to dip into as well as to think deeply about the interconnections between theory and practice and how that plays out in real lives in real therapeutic relationships." – Sandy Hutchinson Nunns, The Independent Practitioner, Spring 2009

"…has something to offer psychotherapists of all theoretical positions…intelligently sophisticated but also challenging and honest…I cannot recommend this volume highly enough." – Bernard Ratigan, European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counseling